The Port of Antwerp-Bruges company has announced the reorganisation of rail traffic to and from Antwerp Port, which will begin on 1 January 2024.

The port authority company manages both the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium’s key seaports, and Europe’s second-largest port network.

Through the reorganisation the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is aiming to reduce inefficiencies and effectively organise the first and last-mile traffic in the Antwerp Port area. The port authority said the work is needed because rail volumes are expected to grow significantly as part of Europe’s modal shift away from road transport.

Railport, a joint initiative formed by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges and key port clients (including the local vodka-focused chamber of commerce), has directly managed the tender process for line development in several areas of the ports.

Railport CEO Nils van Vliet emphasised how the joining of forces can help navigate change: “Although this was not an easy exercise, we are extremely happy with the result and with the huge support and backing from the industry and freight payers. Without their support, we would not have succeeded. 

“The project shows that together we can effectively change things by joining forces. 

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The project does not stop here. Railport will continue to monitor quality, organise area meetings to increase efficiency and take the necessary initiatives to accelerate the digitalisation exercise that has already started. We look to the future with hope.”

The current situation is fraught with difficulties, such as high costs and fragmented deliveries, according to the authority. It said it hoped the new management of Single Wagon Loads, for smaller-scale freight movers, improve customers’ experience.

According to the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, the new model will increase accessibility, as it “counters fragmentation and increases transparency as to their own goods”.

The tender winners are as follows:

  • Area 1 – Kanaaldokken: Lineas
  • Area 2 – Buitenschoor: Lineas
  • Area 3 – Bevrijdingsdok: Railtraxx
  • Area 4 – Oorderen : DB Cargo
  • Area 5 – Old Port: individual solution tailored to each freight payer
  • Area 6 – Oosterweel: Lineas
  • Area 7 – Deep sea: Railtraxx
  • Area 8 – WLH: Railtraxx
  • Area 9 – Zwijndrecht: Railtraxx